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New Jersey lags in generating electricity from wind power, report says

A spokesman for the governor did not respond to a request for comment, but state officials have said the project by Fishermen’s Energy is too financially risky. ...offshore wind farms are extremely costly to build, with some companies estimating price tags of more than $1 billion to build 90 turbines off the New Jersey coast.

Five years after public officials hailed plans that would have built hundreds of offshore wind turbines, New Jersey ranks near the bottom among states generating electricity from wind power, according to a report released by an environmental group Tuesday.

The report comes a month after the Christie administration blocked the latest attempt by Fishermen’s Energy to build a small offshore wind farm near Atlantic City, a move that has drawn criticism from environmentalists who say the governor has stymied efforts to develop clean energy.

Advocates say wind power has the potential to significantly reduce air pollution as an alternative to fossil fuel power plants. Although air quality continues its incremental, decade-long improvement, Bergen and Passaic counties still have some of the worst air quality in the nation.

“We’re optimistic that wind power will move forward in this state even if the governor has done just about everything to stop it,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment NJ, which released the report.

A spokesman for the governor did not respond to a request for comment, but state officials have said the project by Fishermen... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Five years after public officials hailed plans that would have built hundreds of offshore wind turbines, New Jersey ranks near the bottom among states generating electricity from wind power, according to a report released by an environmental group Tuesday.

The report comes a month after the Christie administration blocked the latest attempt by Fishermen’s Energy to build a small offshore wind farm near Atlantic City, a move that has drawn criticism from environmentalists who say the governor has stymied efforts to develop clean energy.

Advocates say wind power has the potential to significantly reduce air pollution as an alternative to fossil fuel power plants. Although air quality continues its incremental, decade-long improvement, Bergen and Passaic counties still have some of the worst air quality in the nation.

“We’re optimistic that wind power will move forward in this state even if the governor has done just about everything to stop it,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment NJ, which released the report.

A spokesman for the governor did not respond to a request for comment, but state officials have said the project by Fishermen’s Energy is too financially risky.

With little open land available to build wind farms, New Jersey sits behind only two other densely populated states, Rhode Island and Delaware, according to the report.

Nine states – Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas, Idaho, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Colorado and Oregon – generate more than 12 percent of their electricity with wind power, according to the report. New Jersey generates less than 1 percent from wind with the vast majority of its electricity coming from nuclear power and natural gas.

Strong winds and plenty of space off New Jersey’s 127 miles of coastline could produce enough electricity to power 80 percent of New Jersey’s 3.5 million homes, the report states.

But offshore wind farms are extremely costly to build, with some companies estimating price tags of more than $1 billion to build 90 turbines off the New Jersey coast.

Wind farms were the centerpiece of former Governor Jon Corzine's push for clean energy sources to supply a large portion of the state's power. From 2008 to 2009, three companies including Fishermen's Energy were chosen by the state Board of Public Utilities to build almost 300 turbines off the coast of Atlantic City.

In 2010, Governor Christie signed the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act, which calls for 1,100 megawatts of wind energy to be generated by the end of 2012. But no progress has been made.

The state Board of Public Utilities has rejected Fishermen’s Energy three times this year to build a five-turbine pilot wind farm about three miles off the coast of Atlantic City. The latest came in November when the board said the company's financial plan was unsound and would require a state subsidy so large it would make the energy produced too costly for ratepayers. The Cape May-based company has appealed the state's decision in court.

Despite the setback at the state level, Fishermen’s Energy began work Tuesday on building the onshore portion of the project in Atlantic City that would connect a cable to the turbines. Work had to begin before the end of the year to take advantage of federal tax credits for wind energy projects.

The U.S. Department of Energy promised up to $47 million for the project in May. But the BPU ruled the project can't advance without guarantees of at least $100 million in federal subsidies.

Fishermen's Energy says it already has all the federal and state permits it needs to start construction.


Source: http://www.foxbusiness.com/...

DEC 25 2014
http://www.windaction.org/posts/41856-new-jersey-lags-in-generating-electricity-from-wind-power-report-says
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